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Toxic Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces long-standing challenges assessing and controlling the risks associated with toxic chemicals.

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Tens of thousands of chemicals are currently in EPA's chemical inventory and an average of 1,500 new chemicals are introduced into commerce each year. EPA conducts chemical toxicity assessments under its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program and is authorized under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to obtain information on the risks of chemicals and control those it determines pose an unreasonable risk. Obtaining adequate scientific information on chemical toxicity and exposure levels and completing timely, credible chemical toxicity assessment have been long-standing challenges for EPA. Such assessments are the cornerstone of scientifically sound environmental decisions, policies, and regulations under a variety of environmental statutes, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

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High Risk: Transforming EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals
  • portrait of Alfredo Gomez
    • Alfredo Gomez
    • Director, Natural Resources and Environment
    • gomezj@gao.gov
    • 202-512-3841